Phallus shrine

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Mar 05 2017

Tags: ,

Category: Asia, Japan

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Focal Length:55.3mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

A wooden phallus in a small wooden shrine. How did this piece end up at the flea market of Kitano-Tenman-gu? Has it figured on someone’s house altar – or bedside table – and fallen out of favour? We can only fantasize about it and think up vivid stories, but we don’t know. It is likely though, that we can relate the somewhat peculiar object to ‘shunga’, Japanese erotic art, and more specifically to the phallus veneration as practised during the yearly festival at Kanamara.

The wooden fellow next to the phallus makes the display at the flea market all the more amusing. He looks as if it is his penis, brutally chopped off. Or has the phallus filled him with envy with his stories, boasting of his exciting adventures? ‘Why was I not carved into a nice and smooth phallus?!’

Photo of the week: at the flea market of Kitano-Tenman-gu, Kyoto, Japan 2008

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